The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

May 29, 2014

SPRING FOOTBALL: Indians get tough this spring

— East Limestone’s football team under head coach Jeff Pugh can be summed up in one word: Tough.

Win or lose, Pugh wants opposing teams to remember that about his squad. The ninth-year head coach believes his team lacked that toughness in 2013.

He is seeking to change that this off-season.

“We’ve still got some work to do. We are a lot farther ahead than we were at this point last year,” he said about the team’s two weeks of spring practice. “We treated our spring training like we were going into the season. We got after it this time. We worked on a lot of inside runs, goal line stuff.”

Faced with one of the most difficult schedules in the state, East Limestone went a disappointing 2-8 in 2013. With hard work and an emphasis on running the football and stopping the run, Pugh thinks East is close to getting back.

“We’ve got to be tougher than we were last year,” said Pugh. “When you can’t run the football, you aren’t going to be able to win. If you are throwing the ball in practice all the time, you can’t stop the run in the game. We’re still going to spread it out some, but we will also get in tight. We are way ahead of where we were last year already.”

The Indians concluded their spring season with a jamboree game against West Limestone last week. With its starters in the game, East led 35-0 after three quarters in a comfortable win.

“Defensively, we played well. The thing I was most pleased with is how hard they played, how physical they were,” said Pugh. “We got killed by them last year and we challenged those guys not to get our butts knocked down again.”

While East loses a pair of starters on its defensive line and in the secondary, they return seven starters including All-County defensive players DeAnte Griffith and Alex Rodriguez.

Offensively, the Indians must replace over half its starters, but return third-year starting quarterback Brick Pugh and three offensive lineman.

“The big thing we wanted to do in the spring was find a running back,” said Pugh. “Blake (Tucker) was about 90 percent coming back from injury. (Practice) was tough on those guys, but its going to help them in the long run.”

East Limestone opens the season at home with a jamboree against James Clemens on Aug. 21, followed by another home game to open the season against West Limestone on Aug. 29.

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